The Truth About Forever
The Truth About Forever

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Annotation: The summer following her father's death, Marcy goes to work for Wish Catering where she makes new friends, meets a new guy, and confronts her grief.
Catalog Number: #8889
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition Date: 2006
Pages: 374 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-14-240625-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-51469-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-14-240625-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-51469-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2003028298
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Dessen returns to a familiar theme and recognizable characters: the perfect girl at odds with a controlling mother and keeping boys at arm's length because of father issues. Here the girl is Macy Queen. Her father has died, her mother can't grieve, and every time Macy tries to break out of the automaton state in which she is trapped, Mrs. Queen reels her back. Macy gets a job with a catering company, whose employees mirror and mask similar emotions to her own--among them, a girl who is scarred on the outside, but not on the inside, and two motherless brothers, the older of whom, Wes, helps Macy break through. As is often the case with Dessen, the novel is a mixed bag. Much of it is wonderful. At its purest, the writing reaches directly into the hearts of teenage girls: Macy's games of truth with Wes are unerringly conceived, sharply focused on both characters and issues. Yet a subplot about Macy's job at the library features cardboard characters and unbelievable situations. This seesawing between spot-on observations and superfluous scenes slows the pace and makes readers wait too long for the book's best moments.
Horn Book
After her father's death, runner Macy Queen tries to conform to the expectations of her distant mother and perfectionist boyfriend. A summer catering job introduces Macy to some well-drawn peripheral characters, while providing the impetus for self-exploration and eventual communication with her family. This meandering tale explores different approaches to grief but is marred by a predictable ending.
Kirkus Reviews
Macy declined Dad's early-morning invitation to jog, changed her mind, and ran out to catch him, only to see him die of a heart attack before her eyes. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt, she sets about guaranteeing that every aspect of her life is controlled, perfect, safe—from her academically ambitious but unaffectionate boyfriend, to her tidiness, to her boring summer job at the library information desk. When Macy's cautious self-discipline collides with Wish Catering, its offbeat staff, and its wacky crisis management, readers can pretty much predict the outcome. Macy will be teased out of her cocoon and grief by a new job with the caterer and new friends (including romantic hunk Wes) into their messy, lively, creative world. The plot is too conventional, some secondary characters are stock, the storm that brings everyone together at the end is too handy, but the Wish team is lovable, the romance clicks, and readers will be entertained. (Fiction. 12-14)
Publishers Weekly

In this contemporary romance, Dessen (This Lullaby) gracefully balances comedy with tragedy and introduces a complex heroine worth getting to know. While recovering from her father's sudden death, Macy clings to things that are safe and predictable, notably her brilliant, oh-so-steady boyfriend Jason. ("Anything he did, he did well," Macy explains. "A lot of people might find this annoying, even loathsome. But not me. He was just what I needed.") When Jason goes off to "Brain Camp" for the summer and announces (via e-mail) that he wants to put their relationship on hold, Macy must find happiness and reassurance on her own. Much to her sensible mother's dismay, Macy impulsively takes a job at a disorganized catering company, working for very pregnant Delia, a woman who thrives on chaos. As a caterer's assistant, Macy endures flying meatballs, spilt wine, irate clients, inebriated guests and, at the same time, feels more alive than she has since her father's death—especially when she's around Wes, the sensitive, artistic bartender who seems to understand Macy better than anyone else. On one level, the novel traces the growing intimacy between Macy and Wes; on another, it examines the healing process as Macy allows herself to grieve. Readers will cheer Macy on as she tentatively reenters the world of the living by taking risks and relearning how to act spontaneously, embracing change rather than avoiding it. Ages 12-up. (May)

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Macy, 16, witnessed her father's death, but has never figured out how to mourn. Instead, she stays in control-good grades, perfect boyfriend, always neat and tidy-and tries to fake her way to normal. Then she gets a job at Wish Catering. It is run by pregnant, forgetful Delia and staffed by her nephews, Bert and Wes, and her neighbors Kristy and Monica. "Wish" was named for Delia's late sister, the boys' mother. Working and eventually hanging out with her new friends, Macy sees what it's like to live an unprescripted lifestyle, from dealing with kitchen fires to sneaking out at night, and slowly realizes it's not so bad to be human. Wes and Macy play an ongoing game of Truth and share everything from gross-outs to what it feels like to watch someone you love die. They fall in love by talking, and the author sculpts them to full dimension this way. All of Dessen's characters, from Macy, who narrates to the bone, to Kristy, whose every word has life and attitude, to Monica, who says almost nothing but oozes nuance, are fully and beautifully drawn. Their dialogue is natural and believable, and their care for one another is palpable. The prose is fueled with humor-the descriptions of Macy's dad's home-shopping addiction are priceless, as is the goofy bedlam of catering gigs gone bad-and as many good comedians do, Dessen uses it to throw light onto darker subjects. Grief, fear, and love set the novel's pace, and Macy's crescendo from time-bomb perfection to fallible, emotional humanity is, for the right readers, as gripping as any action adventure.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Word Count: 105,957
Reading Level: 5.2
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.2 / points: 16.0 / quiz: 78879 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.7 / points:23.0 / quiz:Q36336
Lexile: 770L
Guided Reading Level: Y
Fountas & Pinnell: Y

From the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Once and for All
Expect the unexpected.
Macy’s got her whole summer carefully planned.
But her plans didn’t include a job at Wish Catering. And they certainly didn’t include Wes.
But Macy soon discovers that the things you expect least are sometimes the things you need most.
“Dessen gracefully balances comedy with tragedy and introduces a complex heroine worth getting to know.” —Publishers Weekly
Sarah Dessen is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her contributions to YA literature, as well as the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award.
Books by Sarah Dessen:
That Summer
Someone Like You
Keeping the Moon
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever 
Just Listen
Lock and Key
Along for the Ride
What Happened to Goodbye
The Moon and More
Saint Anything

Once and for All

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